‘Malampaya deal out within year’

The Department of Energy on Thursday assured that the multi-billion-peso deal involving the controlling stakes at the Malampaya deepwater gas-to-power project, which has been pending over lack of consent from a member of the consortium, will be resolved within the year.

In a press briefing, Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla said that the state-run PNOC-Exploration Corp., which holds a 10-percent interest in Malampaya, will likely give its consent to the deal this year.

“The PNOC-EC is considering the matter of giving its consent to the sale of Shell’s interest in Malampaya. As far as the DoE is concerned, we will review this but I can assure you that we will try to address this matter within the year,” Lotilla told reporters.

“Probably next week, I will be announcing to you the technical and financial advisors that will assist the DoE in reviewing the technical and financial aspects of this transaction. I assure you and the public that DoE will exercise the utmost care and diligence in reviewing this,” he said.

Last month, Prime Exploration of gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. signed a share purchase agreement acquiring MEXP Holding Pte. Ltd.

MEXP previously inked an agreement with Shell Petroleum N. V. for the 45-percent stake of SPEX in the Malampaya project. The acquisition is still subject to the consent of the PNOC-EC and the DoE.
It can be recalled that PNOC-EC withheld its consent for the divestment of SPEX’s shares.

Project expansion

Once consent is given and Prime Infra assumes full ownership and control of SPEX, Prime Infra can start accelerating investments for the expansion of the Malampaya project.

Lotilla pointed out that there is an urgent need to address the pending Malampaya transaction to ensure that the government and the people will “take full advantage of the project.”

“We look forward to the extraction of existing resources but we also look forward to the development of other resources. We should always be forward-looking,” he said.

Lotilla assured that the PNOC-EC “would have a complement of professional and competent advisors or consultants that would help evaluate” the transaction.

In 2019, Udenna Corp. acquired the 45 percent stake of Chevron Malampaya LLC in the Malampaya project. The transaction was closed in 2020.

Last year, Malampaya Energy, a unit of Udenna Corp., acquired another 45 percent from Pilipinas Shell Exploration B.V.

This pending transaction was supposed to give Udenna Corp. the controlling stake at 90 percent in Malampaya or the Service Contract 38.

$1B worth

The twin agreement worth more than $1 billion had been stalled by allegations of irregularities despite the government assessment that both are purely business transactions.

The Malampaya facility is the country’s only natural gas field. It provides 30 percent of the energy requirements of Luzon.

The government gets 60 percent of the net proceeds from Malampaya’s petroleum operations after the contractor deducts all operating expenses.

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